Yuvraj Singh is a big tournament player and he loves delivering on the big stage. On Sunday, as India defied nature and rain breaks to build a platform, Yuvraj came out all guns blazing to up the ante against Pakistan at Edgbaston.
In an innings affected by rain twice — consequently shortened to 48 overs as against the normal 50 — India posted 319/3.
Further rain interruptions forced the match officials to revise the target to 324 runs off 48 overs according to the the Duckworth Lewis method.
Kohli was not his usual fluent self for the first half of his innings, a composed 68-ball 81, and it was left to Yuvi to take the Pakistani pace attack on.
The stylish southpaw made it all look all too easy, screaming away to his 52nd half-century off only 29 balls. He eventually perished for 53 but his knock had given India the impetus to push past 300.
“Delivering in a big game is sweet. I was lucky to be dropped and then I could capitalise in the end,” said Yuvraj after India had stormed to 319/3 in their 48 overs.
Yuvraj, the team-man that he is, gave full credit to Rohit and Dhawan, whose 136-run stand, he said, gave India the platform to raise a huge total. “The partnership between Rohit and Shikhar allowed us to bat deep.”
Despite the persistent rain, Yuvraj thought runs could be scored on the pitch if the batsmen spent enough time in the middle.
Revealing his plan to attack the Pakistani bowlers, the southpaw said: “It’s a very good batting wicket. You have to give yourselves time because of the rain breaks. If you give yourself enough time on this pitch, you will get enough runs,” he said.
India’s batsmen gave themselves enough time alright. Four half-centuries at the top of the order and a six-ball 20 gave them a total they should fancy defending.
The bowlers then stepped up with Umesh Yadav (3/30), Hardik Pandya and Ravindra Jadeja (2/43) starring in the second innings as Pakistan got bowled out for 164 inside 34 overs.
After the match Yuvi said he was lucky to have been dropped early on in his innings after which he capitalised on the reprieve.
“I thought we all batted really well,” he said. “The openers gave us a good start, Virat finished well, and it gave me the opportunity to go and attack. You just have to go and back yourself, and tell the opposition that you’re here to attack.
“I was lucky I was dropped, but I capitalised and I was hitting it well. I finished well. India-Pakistan is always a big game, and I think it has set us up really well. Hopefully we’ll take this confidence into the next game against Sri Lanka,” Yuvraj, who was adjudged Man of the Match, said at the post-match presentation.